In preparation for a long journey through the Bahamas and Caribbean, you have to try and figure out what additional spare parts you will have to bring along. Ordering spares here in the United States is fairly easy, but having to get these ordered and shipped while cruising has its challenges. We ordered several items, including the complete set of curtesy flags for the Eastern Caribbean and out islands.

We returned to the boatyard immediately after the New Year in order to complete the remaining items from our list. We are ready to get sailing again and the cold nights in the boat is not much fun. Especially when it is 80+ degrees in the Bahamas. However, 5KNOTS is located in the sunny side of the boatyard which means that we can get started on projects earlier in the day. If you recall, one of our big concerns was the issue with our keel dropping. Here I am at the final stages of the repair, sanding the keel, applying epoxy and barrier paint to the bottom and other problem areas. This is what it looks like after the repairs and final coat of bottom paint.

It was 2 1/2 years since 5KNOTS was out of the water and had her bottom painted. Since you should do it every two years, now was time. Last time it was painted we had to have the old bottom paint removed completely because it apparently wasn’t done right and it was just flaking off. Since the last painting was done properly and we kept her clean while cruising, it was a fairly easy job to paint it again. We were already using an ablative paint (washes off as you move through the water), so all that was needed was to rough up the existing paint, clean it and apply the new paint. The bottom required two coats and a third at the water line and leading edges at bow, keel and rudder. Renee did the entire job all by herself. Here is Renee hard at work, me catching some rays and giving her moral support! Now, wasn’t that easy?

We dropped our anchor and chain in order to remark it with colored tie wraps so Renee can tell how much chain has been deployed. We added tie wraps at 50, 75, 100 and 125 feet increments. We also cleaned the chain using Ospho. Ospho is a metal treatment solution that when applied to rusted surfaces, it resists/retards rust in a chemical change on drying to a tough hard surface. We were pleasantly surprised how good the chain looked after the cleaning.

We were planning to launch next weekend but the forecast is for rain and cold temperatures. Both will prevent us from applying the last coat of epoxy and paint to the bottom of the keel. So, looks like we will have to delay until the next week. Our plan is to leave the boatyard and spend a couple of nights at Cumberland Island before heading to Lake Worth when sailing conditions permit. Then we will decide wether to head further south or just leave from there for the Bahamas.